How to Make Fermented Hot Sauce

There’s some good hot sauces out there.

But it wasn’t until we began fermenting our own peppers and turning them into hot sauce that I realized how much I’ve been missing out on!

I’m seriously a spicy food junkie. But if it’s gonna be hot it’s gotta have flavor. The intense boost of flavor that fermenting provides is seriously amazing. I’ll never go back to buying hot sauce from the grocery store again.

This was a game changer for me!

Below you’ll find recipes for two very different kinds of hot sauce. Both are simple to make and can be adjusted to whatever kind of peppers and herbs you have on hand. Don’t be afraid to experiment. That’s the fun thing about fermenting.

But first let’s talk about why fermented hot sauce is the best way to go.

Why ferment peppers?

Flavor. Beautiful, intense and mouthwatering flavor. This is the number one reason why you should consider fermenting peppers.

Plus they’re chock full of healthy goodness, especially for your gut. Through the fermenting process, beneficial bacteria called Lactobacillus feed on the sugar in the peppers, converting it to lactic acid, which aids in the preservation process. When consuming food that’s been lacto-fermented, we are feeding the good bacteria in our own guts. This has been known to aid in digestion and even to lower cholesterol.

Fresh peppers don’t last forever, and fermenting is an easy way to process a & preserve the harvest from your garden. The hot sauces below will last in your fridge for up to a year! If you don’t use them up, that is.

And did I mention the flavor? Trust me. It’s seriously good.

Things you’ll need

  • Half gallon jar (or 2 quart sized jars)
  • Blender
  • Air lock fermenting kit (we use this or this)
  • Glass fermenting weights
  • Glass bottles to store sauce

Tangy Hot Sauce


  • 2-3 medium sized bell peppers
  • 5-10 banana peppers
  • 4-5 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 medium onion
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Fresh oregano
  • Sea salt
  • Distilled water
  • Organic apple cider vinegar


  1. Rinse your peppers and slice them into rings or small chunks. There’s no rule here. I’ve done small slices and I’ve simply halved peppers before. I do think smaller slices allow less air in the jar however, and allow you to pack the jar easier.
  2. Dice up your onion and set aside.
  3. In a clean jar, add layers of peppers and onion, packing down as much as possible. Fill the jar, leaving a couple inches at the top.
  4. At the top, add a sprig of cilantro and oregano. Then pack everything down one more time.
  5. Make the brine: Add 5 tablespoons sea salt to 4 quarts of distilled water. Let the salt dissolve, stirring if necessary.
  6. Pour the brine over the contents in the jar until everything is covered. Then add a glass weight to keep everything submerged. Add a lid with an airlock and move the jar to a dark, cool space to ferment for 10-14 days.
  7. When peppers are ready, use a strainer to separate the brine from the fermented contents. Set aside the brine.
  8. Add the contents to a blender and process. Add a 1/2 cup of brine and then continue to process until you reach the desired thickness of sauce you want (add more brine to make it thinner). Then add a splash of organic apple cider vinegar and blend one more time.
  9. Bottle up your hot sauce and enjoy! Store in the fridge for up to a year.

Sweet & Spicy Hot Sauce


  • 10-15 habanero peppers
  • 10 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 mango
  • 4 fresh peaches
  • Sea salt
  • Distilled water
  • Fresh lime juice


  1. Wash and slice the tops off your habanero peppers. Slice jalapenos into rings or small chunks. Dice your onion and set aside.
  2. Take the skin off your peaches and cut into slices. Do the same with your mango.
  3. Alternate layers of peppers, onion, peach and mango in a clean half gallon jar, allowing about 2 inches of space at the top. Pack down tight.
  4. Follow the same directions (5-9) as above.
  5. NOTE: Instead of adding apple cider vinegar, add a splash of fresh lime juice to your final blend.

Fermenting tips

  • Using clean, sterilized jars is key to a good ferment. Blemishes on your fruit/veggie skin is okay. Just no mold.
  • After a day or two fermenting, you should start seeing small bubbles rising in your jar. This is an early sign that the magic is happening.
  • It’s normal for your brine to turn cloudy, and even change colors.
  • If you see white, black or pink mold form on the surface of your brine your ferment is spoiled. This means oxygen got into your jar and you’ll need to toss your veggies to start again.
  • You might see a white film form across the surface of your brine. This is call Kahm yeast and is a natural thing to see in some ferments. It means that your salt level is likely too low. Kahm yeast is safe to consume, but may alter the taste of your ferment. Simply scrape off the white film.
  • The longer you let your peppers ferment, the more intense their flavor will be.

Be bold. Don’t be afraid if this is your first attempt at fermenting. Give it a try. And if you love hot sauce as much as I do, you’ll love making it with fermented peppers.

Be well.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: